Guide to the Henry Roth to Marie Syrkin Correspondence, undated, 1976-1988
 
*P-922

Processed by Tanya Elder

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Tanya Elder as MS Word document, November 14, 2011. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on November 15, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Roth, Henry
Syrkin, Marie
Title: Henry Roth to Marie Syrkin correspondence
Dates:undated, 1976-1988
Abstract: This collection contains letters and typescript postcards from the novelist Henry Roth to fellow novelist and essayist Marie Syrkin from a period of 1976-1988. Ms. Syrkin's responses are not included. The scope of the letters are wide ranging, but mostly confined to correspondence between friends and contemporaries and discusses different topics such as Mr. Roth's reviews of Mrs. Syrkin's essays as well as the progress of his own writings. The correspondence also highlights Roth's views on events in Israel and the United States during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, events in the life of Roth, travel plans, political opinions and remarks on literature in general. The photographs consist of three items: one color photograph of Roth standing with the help of canes, presumably on a New Mexico roadside (September 1979); one black and white photograph of Roth and his wife Muriel (1981), and one color photograph of the couple presumably in their New Mexico house, with Roth seated and Muriel standing by his side (1983).
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 3 folders (.03 linear feet)
Identification: P-922
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note

Henry Roth (1905-1993)
Marie Syrkin (1899-1989)

Henry Roth and Marie Syrkin were both authors and devoted Zionists in their lifetimes. Henry Roth was born in Tyszmenicz, Galitzia, now part of the Ukraine, and immigrated to the United States as a child in 1908. His family lived on the Lower East Side of New York and Harlem. The young Roth embraced atheism as well as Communist doctrine, but in the 1960s, he once again became interested in Judaism as well as Zionism and eventually visited Israel. In 1934, Roth wrote published Call It Sleep, a semi-biographical tale of immigrant life in America. After a self-imposed respite from writing that lasted into the 1960s, Roth wrote a series of biographical works that developed into a series entitled Mercy of a Rude Stream. He married Muriel Parker in 1939 and had two sons. Roth and Muriel eventually moved to New Mexico.

Over the course of his life, he met the Zionist essayist Marie Syrkin and developed a correspondence with her during the late 1970s until the year before Syrkin's death in 1989. According to the Jewish Virtual Library1, Syrkin was born in Switzerland and immigrated to New York. She was the daughter Labor Zionist leader Nahman Syrkin and she eventually taught in New York City schools from 1925-1950. She became known as a critical writer on issues such as the American school system, an essayist on Zionism and the Labor Movement, and translated Yiddish and Hebrew poems into English for anthologies. Syrkin served on the editorial boards of Midstream and the Middle East Review. In addition, Syrkin was a friend of Israeli Prime Minster Golda Meir and wrote Meir's authorized biography, Golda Meir: My Life, among other writings on Meir.

The bulk of letters written from Roth are addressed from his home in New Mexico and to Syrkin in California, where she eventually moved.

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains letters and typescript postcards from the novelist Henry Roth to fellow novelist and essayist Marie Syrkin from a period of 1976-1988. Ms. Syrkin's responses are not included. The scope of the letters are wide ranging, but mostly confined to correspondence between friends and contemporaries and discusses different topics such as Mr. Roth's reviews of Mrs. Syrkin's essays as well as the progress of his own writings. The correspondence also highlights Roth's views on events in Israel and the United States during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, events in the life of Roth, travel plans, political opinions and remarks on literature in general.

The photographs consist of three items: one color photograph of Roth standing with the help of canes, presumably on a New Mexico roadside (September 1979); one black and white photograph of Roth and his wife Muriel (1981), and one color photograph of the couple presumably in their New Mexico house, with Roth seated and Muriel standing by his side (1983).

The American Jewish Historical Society also holds on deposit by the Henry Roth Literary Trust, the papers of Henry Roth. Correspondence written between the years of 1976-1988 from Marie Syrkin to Roth may be found in collection P-702, Box 8, Folder 14 and 15. Letters from Roth to Syrkin are owned by the American Jewish Historical Society and may be published with permission. Letters written from Syrkin to Roth that are located in Collection P-702 are owned by the Henry Roth Literary Trust. Permission to quote from Syrkin's letters to Roth must be obtained from the Literary Trust.

Return to the Top of Page

Arrangement

The collection is arranged as a single series.

Return to the Top of Page

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

P-694 Henry Roth Collection
P-702 Henry Roth Papers
P-675 Lucy Dawidowicz
P-796 Hana Wirth-Nesher / Henry Roth correspondence

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Henry Roth to Marie Syrkin correspondence; P-922; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Donated by David Bodansky, 2005.

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Henry Roth to Marie Syrkin Correspondence, undated, 1976-1988

English.
3 folders.
Scope and Content:

See collection Scope and Content Note.

BoxFolderTitleDate
CB 1 Correspondence undated, 1976-1988
CB 2 Postcards undated, 1976-1984
CB 3 Photographs 1979, 1981, 1983
Return to the Top of Page